Hearts thumping; jaws clenched; minds whirring; fingers tensed; camera lights flashing; and all eyes on the trophy. This is decidedly insufficient in describing the magnitude of pressure the St. Mary’s Brain Bowl team faced when the decision of who takes the trophy depended upon the last game vs its strongest competitor, Yokohama International School. However, like the past years, St. Mary’s prevailed.
41 Tournaments. 32 wins. Needless to say, St. Mary’s has definitely been at least a little proficient at Brain Bowl over the years. In fact, it has even become easier to count the times we have lost rather than the times we have won! And this year was no different. Becoming the seventh pair of captains in a row to lead St. Mary`s to victory, seniors Do Hoon Kim and Vitaly Banov successfully led from the front, both winning individual All-Stars, which propelled the team to a win by a 255 point margin over St. Maur. In addition to them, Ben Beardsley and Mackenzie Lee also won All-Stars for their team. Not only this, but this year’s Brain Bowl team was evenly balanced in the age-levels of its members meaning that the future of the team, which contained 5 juniors, 2 sophomores, and 1 freshman along with the 5 seniors this year, is secure.
Yet, considering the fact that Brain Bowl has undoubtedly been one of the activities that St. Mary’s has been particularly dominant in, it is important to investigate how it is viewed by the general St. Mary’s population and what they think these wins bring to the school. Thus, the Diplomat decided to put a few High Schoolers on the spot and discover their true perspective on St. Mary’s Brain Bowl’s domination. When asked this, senior Jae Yoon Jung had a fantastic comment to make about our Brain Bowlers and also in a way describe what makes them ‘stand out’ among all the schools in the Kanto region. He remarked that our numerous wins in Brain Bowl show that “we[the students] have good long-term memory… and keen interests not just in academic fields but also in things in general.” In addition, when the Diplomat went to investigate further, it encountered yet another senior, Nihkil Sehrawat. He personally holds Brain Bowl in great regard and respects the team for retaining the trophy all these years. Not only this but he believes our Brain Bowl wins are an key component to the top-notch scores all our students receive in all academic fields. As he stated, “…Brain Bowl is certainly a great option to show off how good one is academically and our school really… has done a great job. Also, I believe they are indeed motivating other new freshmen coming up every year and it is a great sign for the bright future of our school”. Next on our list was aspiring senior Ryo Nagai, who presented a slightly different approach, connecting fine arts to our school’s athletic prowess. He answered, “I think its a good thing that we’re always winning in fine arts – choir, Brain Bowl, and everything – but there are some sports in which we lack competition, because we’re more of an academic school as compared to other schools.” Insik Chung, yet another senior, when asked how Brain Bowl maintains St. Mary’s’ reputation as an academically excellent school, summarized it all by stating, “well, it shows that St. Mary’s is definitely one of the most academically qualified schools in the Kanto area; you can tell from how St. Mary’s dominates in activities like Math Field Day, Speech, Debate, along with, of course, Brain Bowl. Lastly, when Insik was asked whether there existed a correlation between St. Mary’s’ Brain Bowl wins and its athletic teams, he dismissed it, saying, “no, I don’t think there is any correlation between academics and sports. I think St. Mary’s students are well rounded students who can excel in both academics and sports.”
To conclude, October 17, 2013 marked the day when the St. Mary’s Brain Bowl team continued its domination by notching its 32nd win. There was not a whiff of anything special in the air, nor was there a total stoppage in the school; only 12 relatively smart students bearing the massive pressure of continuing their school’s legacy that has remained steadfast for the past 41 years.
Photos provided by Yuhki Komano.